OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría today formally launched Colombia’s accession process with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
Speaking to members of the Colombia government, elected officials, business leaders, academics and representatives of civil society, Mr Gurría said that the country’s accession process builds on the close collaboration that exists between the OECD and Colombia. This engagement reflects Colombia’s commitment to further strengthening its public policies and economic performance.
“Colombia is looking ahead decisively and taking a step towards a stronger and better future,” Mr Gurria said during the launch event. “We will now work together to ensure that accession to the OECD contributes to better policies for better lives of all Colombians.”
The 34 OECD Members approved a Roadmap to accession for Colombia on 19 September 2013, establishing the process and setting out the terms for future membership. This follows the political decision taken at the OECD Ministerial Meeting in Paris in May 2013.
The first step in the process will see Colombia submit an Initial Memorandum setting out its position on some 250 OECD legal instruments (see www.oecd.org/acts). This will lead to a series of technical reviews conducted by OECD experts, who will present their findings to the Organisation’s Committees, which, in turn, will submit to the OECD Council a formal evaluation of Colombia’s policies in their areas of competence.
These reviews will be an opportunity to share with the Colombian authorities OECD best practices and standards as well as helping to identify areas for further reforms. The accession process has no definite timeline and ultimately depends on the ability of Colombia to successfully complete the technical reviews.
In his remarks, Mr Gurria noted that Colombia’s accession process was too important to be urgent, and he expressed certainty that Colombia will follow through with the competence and conviction they have shown so far. “Our member countries have used the accession process to improve regulations, address emerging policy challenges and promote further reforms,” Mr Gurria said. The process can help Colombia move faster towards its own policy priorities. It is the people of Colombia, first and foremost, who will reap the benefits of Colombia’s membership in the OECD.”
Colombian officials will now begin to engage with OECD Committees composed of experts drawn from Member countries in the following areas: Investment, Bribery in International Business Transactions, Corporate Governance, Financial Markets, Insurance & Private Pensions, Competition, Tax, Environment, Chemicals, Public Governance, Regulatory Policy, Statistics, Economics, Education, Employment, Labour & Social Affairs, Health, Trade and Export Credits, Fisheries, Science & Technology, IT & Communications and Consumer Policy.
A final decision must be taken by all OECD Member countries in the governing body, the OECD Council. In accordance with the OECD Convention, decisions on membership are taken by unanimity.
The OECD last welcomed new members in in 2010, when Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia joined the Organisation. Accession talks with the Russian Federation are on-going. The Council has also launched accession negotiations with Latvia.
The OECD’s current members are: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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